How did you become a documentary maker?
“It all started in high school. I loved making pictures and had a great interest for subcultures and people. When I started adding audio to these photographs and making up small scenes, it became clear to me that I had to take my photography hobby to the next level and make documentaries. The beautiful thing about this job is that I’m free to choose my own subjects, my own little studies. Every time you get to make new research and throw yourself into a new field with stories & interesting people.
Is there something you would like to achieve with your films?
I have a lot of ambitions. One of my goals is that my films will add something useful to society. I hope that my work challenges people to look at things in a different way than they are used to.
That’s a wonderful ambition to have! Can you give us an example?
At the moment, I’m working on a youth documentary about a girl and her best friend Buba, a 4000 kg elephant. They’re both part of one of the last travelling circuses in Holland. Because of a new law on wild animals in the circus, Buba gets deported from the family that it has been with for 20 years. The documentary discusses whether you should allow wild animals in the circus – which I believe you shouldn’t – but it also shows a different side to the story. The story of this particular elephant that has not experienced wildlife for the past 40 years and has been taken into this family like one of their own. The quality of her life is the best where she is now. As they say in an old Dutch saying, ‘you shouldn’t move an old tree’.
Can you give us an insight to life in a creative workspace?
Over the past years, I have been in quite some different studios, all with their own style. I really wanted to join the Broedplaats VKG because of its vibe and creative people. So I gathered a group of friends and colleagues and we got permission to transform part of the 6th floor into our own studios (that’s right, there were filmstudios right where there are hotel rooms now). We used everything from old mattresses to sand from a building site on the Wibautstraat, just to make everything sound proof. This is also how I got to know Daan, my partner in crime. We help out each other a lot. That’s the nice thing about this place, even though you’re working solo as a documentarist, there is always a helping hand around the corner or a listening ear when you need to blow off some steam.
Chiel Aldershof (1973)
Studio 2.58, Broedplaats VKG
Graduated in 2000 from the College of Arts, Utrecht.
◈ Buba&Sharon – in production (producer, script, director, sound, editor – KRO/NCRV 2016)
◈ Homesickless- by Wildcard winner Inge Persoon (editor – NFF 2015)
◈ Banana Pancakes and the children of sticky rice- by Daan Veldhuizen (consulting director/sound – BOS, IFFR 2015 – Nominated for a Golden Calf for Best Feature Length Documentary)
◈ Canvas (script, director, editor – NOFF 2013, Winner HollandDoc24 Documentary Award 2013, Winner Documentary Award Shortcutz Festival 2013)
© Portraits, studio interior images & video by: Joao MB Costa
Find more of his work on vimeo : Joao MB Costa
Interview & article by: Merel Løkke Rasmussen